USPTO and EPO Reach Agreement on Principles of Cooperative Patent Classification System

Press Release

CONTACT: Peter Pappas or Jennifer Rankin Byrne
(571) 272-8400 or;;

Washington - The United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) are pleased to report that agreement was reached on the principles of the new Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) at a meeting at the USPTO held on November 29, 2010 through December 1, 2010, and further developed at a meeting at the EPO in The Hague on January 24- 26, 2011.

This joint classification system, first announced on October 25, 2010, will be co-managed by the EPO and the USPTO. The CPC will be based on the International Patent Classification (IPC) system, which is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The CPC will use the European Classification system (ECLA) as a basis and incorporate the best classification practices of the USPTO. The jointly developed classification system will be more detailed than the IPC to improve patent searching.

A governance structure has been designed, a quality management process has been designed and an implementation plan outlined. A CPC training pilot will be held at the USPTO in March 2011 to define training needs and explore training techniques. A CPC follow up meeting is scheduled for spring 2011 at the USPTO.

The EPO and USPTO view the CPC as a major step toward accelerating the Common Hybrid Classification (CHC), one of the ten Foundation Projects of the Five IP Offices (IP5) which were devised to harmonize the search and information environment of each office and to standardize the information-sharing process. Further information on the Foundation Projects is available at

To stay current with the USPTO, subscribe to regular e-mail updates at